Eskendereya, the expected heavy favorite in Kentucky Derby 136, is out of the Derby. Trainer Todd Pletcher revealed that the Giant’s Causeway colt came back from his Saturday morning gallop with filling in his left front leg and after it didn’t to respond to treatment overnight, the decision was made to remove him from consideration on Sunday morning.
“He’s too special of a horse to take any chances,” said Pletcher.
The conditioner said they’ll wait a couple of days for the swelling to subside before administering tests to determine the full extent of the injury. He’s not lame, Pletcher noted, but is “slightly off” in his left front leg.
Owned by Zayat Stables, Eskendereya posted smashing victories in his final two Derby preps, winning the Fountain of Youth by 8 ½ lengths and the Wood Memorial by 9 ¾ lengths.
“He’s without a doubt the best horse we’ve ever brought to (the Derby),” said Pletcher, who is seeking to end a 0-for-24 skid in the first jewel of the Triple Crown.
Eskendereya's injury leaves John Velazquez without a Derby mount, but he's expected to ride the filly Devil May Care if her connections opt for the Derby over the Oaks.